Between 1871 and 1900, another 170,000 miles were added to the nation's growing railroad system. Much of the growth can be attributed to the building of the transcontinental railroads. In 1862, Congress passed the Pacific Railway Act, which authorized the construction of a transcontinental railroad.
How did railroads expand the West?
How did the government encourage railroads to build lines westward?
Between 1850 and 1872 extensive cessions of public lands were made to states and to railroad companies to promote railroad construction.  Usually the companies received from the federal government, in twenty- or fifty-mile strips, alternate sections of public land for each mile of track that was built.
How did railroads make growth in the West easier?
Railroads helped influence the development of the West by moving people and goods faster. Before railroads, towns relied on waterways to transport people and goods. Railroads allowed for people to live in places that were originally more difficult to reach such as rugged mountains and vast plains.
What invention made possible the growth of railroads?
The invention of the steam engine and the development of the railroad system were instrumental in creating the Industrial Revolution beginning in the late eighteenth century and continuing into the nineteenth century.
What did each company receive for each mile of the railroad?
And lastly, the federal government would pay each company $48,000 for each mile of track laid in mountains, or about $1,383,000 today. Not only did the federal government promise these bonds, but they also promised each company land grants.